After suffering an indignity he couldn’t take, being dropped to ninth in the New York Yankees batting order, and refusing to play because of the perceived insult, proud Yankee veteran Jorge Posada has been doing the only thing he can to make up for it — hitting the tar out of the baseball.
Posada hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning Wednesday afternoon, snapping a 2-2 tie and providing the margin of victory as the Yankees defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 4-2, in the first game of a twi-night doubleheader. The second game will begin at 7:10 p.m. ET.
Posada’s home run off Cincinnati starter Mike Leake (6-4) was his seventh of the season and first in nearly two months. His last home run came on April 23. Posada, whose batting average was under .200 for a long while this season, was hitting .395 in June entering Wednesday’s first game.
The shot made a winner of Freddy Garcia (6-6), who limited the Reds to two unearned runs, three hits and a walk in seven innings. He also struck out four to help New York pick up its fourth consecutive victory.
Garcia’s runs allowed were unearned because of Ramiro Pena, who started at third base and committed three errors.
New York scored the decisive runs after Robinson Cano singled with one away in the sixth. Leake then hung a first-pitch breaking ball to Posada, who sent it over the right field fence.
Cincinnati had several chances to cut into its deficit, including in the bottom of the sixth, when Jay Bruce doubled off the wall in right. But he ran too far off second base when Scott Rolen followed with a liner to left. Brett Gardner made the catch and threw to second for the inning-ending double play.
Then, in the seventh, Pena committed his third error by allowing a Drew Stubbs grounder to leak through his legs. But he helped get the Yankees out of the inning by starting a double play during the next at-bat, and making a nice play on Ryan Hanigan’s sharply hit grounder to end the inning.
David Robertson then pitched a scoreless eighth for the Yankees, and Mariano Rivera worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 19th save.
Posada’s homer was a quick scoring blow in a game that had been defined by close plays.
New York used one to keep Cincinnati off the scoreboard in the second inning, when Stubbs drove a ball to the gap in right-center. But Nick Swisher tracked it down and made the catch before crashing into the wall.
A few close plays then got the Yankees on the board during the third inning, when Gardner reached on a one-out infield single and moved to third on Curtis Granderson’s base hit.
Swisher then hit the ball to first baseman Joey Votto, who fielded the ball and stepped on the bag. The play happened quickly enough that Votto decided to try to get the speedy Gardner at home, but his throw was high, and Gardner slid in safely.
Cano followed with a grounder through the left side for a 2-0 lead.
But the Reds tied the game in the fifth. Their rally got started after Stubbs reached on a throwing error by Pena to lead off the inning and advanced to third on Edgar Renteria’s single.
Hanigan then sent a grounder to third and Pena attempted to get Stubbs at home, but his throw bounced well short of catcher Francisco Cervelli, who couldn’t hang on.
The play got the Reds on the board and left runners on first and second, and a sacrifice bunt by Leake put them in scoring position. Fred Lewis lofted a sacrifice fly to center to plate Renteria and make it a 2-2 contest.
— Sports Network contributed to this report